Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekly Update and Weird Things

My week was quiet. Other than work and school, the family was home a lot working on projects, reading, or spending time outside enjoying the cold weather. (It's been unseasonably cold here---down in the twenties at night! I'm not complaining though.) I almost didn't post an Update this week because at first I thought I didn't really have much to say, but clearly I was wrong....this ended up being much longer than I anticipated.

As far as my reading schedule goes, I've gotten back on track. I'm moving through Bird by Bird at a decent pace and I'm loving the book. I had some doubts about it because I generally don't like instruction-type books. But this book is written in a humorous style that makes it not seem so much like instruction. How can you not love a book with a chapter entitled Shitty First Drafts?

Once I finish Bird by Bird, I will have reached my goal of fifty books for the year. As far as reading goes, it's been an enjoyable year. Books are my weakness and my escape, but I've been trying to not spend money on them. Last week though I took advantage of some Amazon discounts and bought three books that I've been yearning for.If you visit enough blogs you are bound to find someone mentioning A Year of Mornings. It's a book by two gals who, for a year, took photos of some aspect of their morning and then uploaded those photos to their blog. The pictures are lovely and this is a book I like to look at while relaxing in bed at night. My only complaint is that some of the pictures are teeny-tiny and even if I look closely, I feel like I'm missing something.

Sew U is (duh) a sewing book. Even though I've gotten decent enough results with my sewing, I want to start really making clothes for myself and I've heard that this is an informative book to own. I have yet to crack the cover. I'm scared.

And the last book: Apples for Jam.......just typing out the title moves me to heave a contented sigh. I've read a lot of blog posts lately about cook books that I want (like this one and this one) and I have a list as long as my arm of cook books that I want. So when forced to choose only one, it was hard. But I'm glad I chose Apples for Jam because it has a lot of recipes for the comfort foods that I love. There is so much in this book that I want to try that it's hard to decide where to begin. I haven't felt this kind of quivery joy about a cook book since Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. I made the Jam Shortbread on Thursday and even though mine didn't come out nearly as pretty as the one in the book, it's still tasty. The folks I live with aren't that interested in the appearance of the food they eat anyway. Plus, this book is just gorgeous to look at. It really is a work of art.

Somewhat inspired by A Year of Mornings, I've been motivated to take more pictures. Not overly-exciting pictures mind you, just little bits of my days. Here are a few, with descriptions:

We tried to take the girl to the park on Wednesday. She wanted to play so badly but it was 30 something degrees and she kept complaining that everything was too cold to touch. That didn't keep her from crying when we left. She was torn between the desire to play and the desire to stay warm.

On an otherwise crappy mail day, I received a card from a friend. It brightened my day a bit.
Last weekend, while on the computer I got a Freecycle alert from someone giving away a box of leftover garage sale items. I love these. It's like a treasure chest. You never know what you're gonna get. My favorite item to come from the box was this candle holder:It matches my dining room and is in mint condition.

I finished the blanket I was making for a friends baby:I'm pleased with the way it came out.

While making the blanket, I got distracted by a phone call and mistakenly stitched a whole row of squares on upside down. (curse curse grumble grumble) Here is a picture of me removing that entire row of stitching:Yes, I'm using a kitchen skewer to remove those stitches. Remember, I'm new to sewing and don't have the proper tools. Although for what it's worth, I also use butter knives instead of screwdrivers, I hammer with a meat mallet, and I remove nails from the wall by putting the nail head between the tines of a fork and then pulling outward. If something needs to be done, I usually just use the first tool I find upon walking into the kitchen. I am the kitchen MacGyver.

We've had a pumpkin sitting on our dinner table since, oh mid-October. I decided to make my own pumpkin puree. Jay killed the pumpkin for me and I did all the easy work. Why haven't I done this before?? Pureed pumpkin is delicious. Especially with brown sugar and a dollop of whipped cream.

I also seasoned and roasted the pumpkin seeds--none of that pumpkin went to waste and I'm quite proud of that fact.

In other news, Thursday night I was doing my nightly blog reading and I realized that Selena over at Apron Thrift Girl tagged me. As I told Selena, I'm usually pretty bad about these but I'm going to do my best to do it and tag more people. I think I may have done one of these when I first started blogging, but it's been a while. So forgive me if I repeat myself. Here it goes.....

1. link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2. share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

3. tag 7 people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4. let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Weird Things:

1. I don't pump my own gas. Ever. I have done it once in my life, when I was about 17. Mostly my husband pumps it for me. I have been known to pick him up from work when the tank gets low just so that he can pump my gas. If that isn't an option, I will go to the one full service station in my town--but it's never come to that.

2. I eat most foods with a fork. I hate spoons...they feel like shovels.

3. I love my compost buckets. I love the worms. I love the decomposing food. I look at it all daily. It's like a science experiment in my back yard. When I'm angry, I go out and stab my pile with my compost turner. It's a great way to work out aggression.

4. I shave my legs everyday. Every single day of my life. Since I was about 13. I hate leg hair.

5. I have a grey hair streak at the top of my head. I've had it since I was a little girl.

6. I insist on organic milk and organic apples, yet I see no problem with eating candy that I find in the couch cushions or under the seat of the car. Really people, I have eaten some old candy.

7. I rarely download music. I like cd's. Jay says I will be the last person buying the last cd in the world.

There! Weird things. And I'm tagging.......Cyndy(who, by the way, gave me a lovely friendship award earlier in the week), Lyra at Bits and Pieces, Maria Rose, Aleta, and finally, Bridge, Earthmama, and Textile Nazi over at Ride the Waves of Life. I would love to know more about all of you, so please indulge me.

One last thing, some of you may know of Tania over at Blooming Almond and you've probably noticed she's been missing from our little community over the last few weeks. I finally got an e-mail from her earlier in the week. She's going through some personal things at the moment but wanted me to tell everyone that she misses you all and she misses blogging. Hopefully she'll be back soon.


Nowheymama said...

I've been wondering about Apples for Jam for awhile. I wonder if I could convert most of the recipes to be dairy free?

Heather said...

Hey, Tammie, any tips on seasoning the pumpkin seeds or anything special you did with the pumpkin puree? I haven't done this for years and I've got a few stragglers from last month that I've been considering....
We used to do such intricate pumpkin carving when we were just a couple, but with a one and two year old, we were lucky to get triangles and a crooked smile out of one and finger paint two others. Unfortunately, my mother in law thought it would be fun to give big pumpkins as gifts (I really had to let myself off the hook- all that pressure to make them ALL into jack-o-lanterns was exhausting!)
I'm not even sure I can use them since they've been outside for part of the month, though they look the same as they did the day we got them.

Brian said...

Hi, Tammie,

You can choose a free cookbook at DishiWiki. 34 to choose from, in exchange for recipes. Free shipping, too. DW would love to see your pumpkin puree recipe.

Cookiemonster (on DishiWiki)

Tammie said...

nowhey: if anyone can, it's you. a lot of the recipes don't have dairy in them anyway.

heather: the only seasoning i used on the seeds was sea salt and they came out tasty.
i didnt do anything special with the puree either.i just baked the chunks of pumpkin and then pureed. i was going to mix it with brown sugar, but my hubby likes it plain with salt so we just season it as we go.

p.s. we made no jack o lantern. my son drew a face on with a sharpie. we are very lazy. :)

kraftykash said...

I LOVE freecycle! Im always afraid of the "garage sale left overs". That is a good idea to set a goal for a # of books to read every year. Too funny...I just got done blogging about reading!

Cathy said...

sounds like a very pleasant week.
I always have a huge stack of books i'm reading, but never get the time to read them.

Mari said...

The pumpkin puree sounds really interesting. Is it just like eating pie without a crust? mmm.

I have a stack of books to finish, and I want to buy Sarah Vowell's new book "The Wordy Shipmates". I might take that one over to my sister-in-law's house on Thanksgiving! After all, it's about the Puritans. Can't get more Thanksgiving-ish than that.

Amy said...

HI Tammie! You are so right on! Thank you for your courage to share your thoughtful insights. WE have the same taste in films, so I thought I'd send you some more fun ones, "The O in Ohio" Run Fatboy Run,
and "Unbearable Lightness of Being."

Selena of Apron Thrift Girl tagged me with my 7 oddities, it is on my facebook.

Keep on Trucking Girl, you're dead on!

Amy Ellen Zimmer in Sebastopol, CA

Tammie said...

mari: i've heard good things about that book. let me know if you like it.

amy: i'm adding all those movies to my blockbuster list. they are actually all ones ive been meaning to watch but just keep forgetting to go over to now to head over to facebook and see if i can remember my password.


Layrayski said...

kitchen mcgyver, huh? Hehe I loved that show.

I enjoyed knowing so much more about you in this tag blog. I'm really very lazy with this tagging thing so I can't promise to do this but i'll try. and i'll try to be interesting too. Hehe

I can picture you staring at your compost buckets, tammie. =)

Tilly said...

Hey, you had plenty to update! What a busy week. We have a pumpkin which Nipper is rolling around the house. We didnt even get as far as drawing a face on it!
Before I had the kids I used to manage a book a week but over the last few years I've been lucky to manage 3 or 4 in a year. I like mysteries but the last one I read took me so long that when I found out 'whodunnit' I couldn't even remember the character, never mind why they did it!
Thanks for your comment about Nipper's nursery, you made me feel better about my experience with the first one.

Apron Thrift Girl said...

I love that we share something on your list. I can't say I never pump gas but I avoid it if at all possible. I too try to get dh to do it or make sure he drives it when the car is on fumes.

Tammie said...

selena: ha ha...jay drives around a lot on fumes too.